Kenyan gives thanks for support after tragedy

A man who lost his wife, three children and his mother-in-law in an Ethiopian plane crash in March thanked the people of Bermuda yesterday for their support during “testing times”.

Paul Njoroge paid tribute to his family and said messages from the island helped him and his family in their grief.

“Although I really wanted to, I will unfortunately not be able to meet and say thank you to each and every one of you in person,” he said

Mr Njoroge also thanked his employers at Butterfield Bank, the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he is a member of the congregation, the African Community of Bermuda, his Flanagan’s “team” and “the entire Bermuda for the wonderful show of love to us during these testing times”.

He added: “Through your prayer, contributions, sessions and services as well as your messages in the condolence book, we have come to feel your love and warmth, which no doubt has helped us through this stage.

“We are going through an extremely difficult time in our lives. Our wellbeing and little strength comes from your words and actions of encouragement and your messages of hope.

“I cannot, therefore, thank you enough for your expression of sympathies, good thoughts and prayers.”

Mr Njoroge lost wife Carol, 34, son Ryan, 7, daughters Kelli, 4, and Rubi, aged seven months, as well as mother-in-law Ann Wangui Quindos Karanja, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, crashed.

None of the 157 passengers and crew survived. Bermuda residents queued to sign a condolence book as they expressed their sympathy in the days after the crash.

A statement from Mr Njoroge was sent to The Royal Gazette yesterday on behalf of himself and his wider family [see page 4].

Mr Njoroge explained that he had met and thanked John Rankin, the Governor, David Burt, the Premier, and Leonard Teye-Botchway, the Honorary Consul for Ghana in Bermuda, as well as friends and colleagues who attended a prayer meeting on Wednesday.

His family lived in Toronto and were on their way home to Kenya when they died.

Mr Njoroge, a banker, was expected to join them later.

The family had planned to apply for permanent residency in Canada and were househunting at the time of the tragedy.

Mr Njoroge had tracked the flight online, which was scheduled to arrive on March 10, until late the previous night when he went to bed.

He discovered the plane had crashed when he checked its status again the following morning.

Mr Njoroge said in the statement: “My family was my world.”

He added that he was “wondrously blessed” to sing, pray, eat, laugh, play and take walks with them. Mr Njoroge said: “Every aspect of my life today is a reminder of my departed family. But as I journey through this dark time of tears and desolation, I take the gifts of time, prayer and reliving the good memories rooted in the beauty, truth and goodness of my family.

“I hope one day I will move towards a time filled with tears of consolation.

“I lived for them before. Today, I am struggling to live to keep their memories alive.”

Danielle Moore, a former summer student at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, was also among those who perished in the crash.

The 24-year-old from Toronto, was one of 18 Canadians killed in the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 32 Kenyans, eight US citizens and seven Britons.

Source: The Royal Gazette